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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bubble Bursts as Last Brit Bows Out

LONDON -- Normal service resumed in English sport as the euphoria generated by the country's recent successes was swept away by events at Wimbledon and Trent Bridge.


Just as England's Euro 96 challenge failed to survive a penalty shoot-out against Germany last week, 21-year-old Tim Henman proved unable to keep the country's dreams alive at Wimbledon, going down Thursday in straight sets to American Todd Martin.


England's cricketers, supposedly enjoying a long-awaited revival, also suffered a depressing day at the hands of India's batsmen, managing to take just two wickets on the opening day of the third test at Nottingham.


But even as the inquests began in the bars of the land, Henman was being tipped for future greatness by his opponent who believes the newcomer could soon end his country's 58-year wait for a Wimbledon finalist.


"He's going to be a great player, I can't say too many good things about him," said Martin.


"It's not going to be his last quarterfinal at Wimbledon. One of these days he might even win it. You should definitely have a lot of optimism."


Henman himself was "disappointed" but not dismayed by his 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 defeat in the biggest match of his career, delayed by 24 hours as the British summer weather also reverted to rain.


Twice, the solicitor's son from Oxford forced Martin to a tie breaker, only to discover that "shoot-out" disappointment is not exclusive to English soccer.


"I wasn't able to finish it off in the tie breaks. With no breaks, that's your penalty shoot-out," he admitted.


"But I've shown I can compete with some of the very top players; now it's my job to come and join them. It's a big step in the right direction. I think I just lost to the better player on the day."


Those with bets on a Briton winning Wimbledon before the end of the century, hitherto considered as likely as Gazza giving up alcohol, will also be reassured that Henman feels his best days lie ahead.


"I can reflect on the last 10 days as the greatest tournament of my career so far, but I hope I have even better Wimbledons in years to come," he said.


"I've always believed I can be a good player and this has probably just emphasized it again. If I can continue to improve and opportunities do arise, who knows?"